Posts Tagged ‘Google Earth’

google war dead

Just when you thought you heard all the Memorial Day stories, May 25th was also Towel Day.  Created as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). Adams was mostly noted for as the author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.  Adams’ official biography shares its name with the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.

So why a towel to honor someone?  A towel (…) is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value…More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. http://www.towelday.org/faq/index.html

If Adams were alive today, I am sure he find all of this quite humorous.

I decided to forgo carrying a towel yesterday.  Had I, it would have been to wipe away tears for the dead and the surviving families from wars.

Google Earth has a new map to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each figure on the map denotes a service member lost during the last six years. Tied to their hometown, each figure pops up a screen that gives information about that fallen troop.  It is a work in progress,

http://www.mapthefallen.org/ Look at this map, and explore the stories of heroism and sacrifice made across this nation and across the world. Although this map only shows the hometowns and places of death for these soldiers, it’s important to remember that each of these servicemen and women have a rich story in between, which leads me to something a Gold Star mom recently shared with me:

“There’ll be two dates on your tombstone
And all your friends will read ’em
But all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em…”
Ain’t it the truth.
United States armed forces deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom, starting with the invasion on March 20th, 2003 has a current tally of 4300. http://www.fixiraq.com/ Cost of the War in Iraq
$672,414,114,148  The tally changes each second. http://costofwar.com/
The cost of Freedom–PRICELESS.
The Cost of a Towel- a buck from the Dollar Store.

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Russia is putting it’s foot down and it isn’t in a gentle way. 

” Kyrgyzstan’s president said Tuesday his country is ending U.S. use of an air base key to military operations in Afghanistan- a decision with potentially grave consequences for U.S. efforts to put down surging Taliban and al-Qaida violence.

A U.S. military official in Afghanistan called President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s statement “political positioning” and denied the U.S. presence at the Manas air base would end anytime soon.   The United States is preparing to deploy an additional 15,000 troops in Afghanistan and Manas is an important stopover for U.S. material and personnel.

Ending U.S. access would be a significant victory for Moscow in its efforts to squeeze the United States out of Central Asia, home to substantial oil and gas reserves and seen by Russia as part of its strategic sphere of influence.” From AP http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_RUSSIA_KYRGYZSTAN_US_BASE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-02-03-12-49-12

Well isn’t that just special?  The Russians come, play war games and poke at us with Cuba and Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, right off the U.S. coastline, and now want to end American presence at a key base just as we are about to increase troop presence.  Such timing.

Just this weekend (Feb 1,09)Near the Pakistan/ Afghan border lies the Swat Valley, where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have traditionally had their strongholds.  17 people were killed in fighting  and the military recently vowed to reinvigorate its efforts where Taliban fighters have set up their own courts, destroyed scores of girls’ schools and reportedly driven out hundreds of thousands of residents.  Swat is less than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,486388,00.html 

Yesterday (Feb 2, 09)  Gunmen kidnapped an American U.N. worker and killed his driver in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, underscoring the security threat in a country wracked by al-Qaida violence and rising criminality.  http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2009/02/gunmen_kidnap_american_un_official_in_pakistan.php John Solecki, the head of the U.N. refugee office in the city of Quetta was abducted as he traveled to work.

Vice President Joe Biden says the nation should expect more U.S. military casualties.  Pentagon officials say they plan to send up to 30,000 additional troops to the Afghan war, where the Taliban is resurgent and violence has been on the rise. 

Biden said Sunday that additional U.S. forces will be engaging the enemy more. Asked if that means the U.S. public should expect more American casualties, the vice president said: “I hate to say it, but yes, I think there will be. There will be an uptick.”   From CBS’ “Face the Nation.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/25/biden-on-afghanistan-expe_n_160689.html

An uptick?  Frig your uptick- everyone of those numbers has a name Mr. Biden and no matter one’s opinion of GWB, he never referred to any soldier so insignificantly as being an uptick.  With that said… 

The United States set up the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan and a base in neighboring Uzbekistan after the September 2001 terror attacks, to back operations in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan expelled U.S. troops from the base on its territory in 2005 in a dispute over human rights issues, leaving Manas as the only U.S. military facility in the region.

Russia has long been suspicious of the U.S. presence in what it considers its strategic backyard and agreed Tuesday to provide Kyrgyzstan with $2 billion in loans plus another $150 million in financial aid.

Russia also uses a military airbase at Kant, Kyrgyzstan.

The United States currently pumps a total of $150 million into Kyrgyzstan’s economy annually, including $63 million in rent for Manas, Petraeus said last month. http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/02/03/kyrgyzstan-closing-us-base-key-to-afghan-conflict/

No one in the Obama administration has referred to the term, “the war on terror,”  yet the effort to stop terror continues, rightfully so -but at the cost of an uptick of human life.  http://icasualties.org/oef/ and here http://www.unknownnews.net/casualties.html .

It becomes difficult to absorb the fact that we can not, “Get” the bad guys when Google Earth http://earth.google.com/ has released it’s next generation technology that pretty much enables anyone to see a fly on a camel’s ass- anywhere, any time. 

French officer Maj. Pierre-Henri Bunel said, “The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the ‘TV watcher’ to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money.”

Ain’t that a kick in the ass if he is telling the truth?

I miss old Dean Martin.

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The campaign for President is winding down but the media’s news campaign for the results of the election are running full steam ahead.

Americans are tuning in to Main Stream Media and the Internet like never before to follow election results and see where our country is headed in the next four years.  It is incredible really, the amount of information that one has access to in America, and that the access and reporting is in real time.  It becomes unimaginable that there are places in the world like Russia and China where the government censures the media at it’s convenience.  Freedom of speech and of the press are often taken for granted in America.  Whatever the outcome, our Election Day coverage in the media displays to the entire world that democracy works.  There is no amount of advertising dollars that could ever be spent that indicates just how powerful freedom is.

It will be interesting to note not only the variances in the graphic designs but the uncertainty of predictions.  In 2004, polling numbers, predictions and maps were cast aside as our Judaical system ruled in the end that George Bush won.  Statistics and graphs can misrepresent the truth and be manipulated into reflecting opinion, rather than fact.  Will Fox News, that typically leans toward Republican candidates, show graphs that reflect a bias toward McCain?  Will CNN, that is stereotypically pro Democrat, yield information that indicates Obama the winner?  Time will tell in the final outcome which media outlet is the most reliable, fair and balanced in reporting the results and activities of Election 2008.  My prediction and hope is that voters put country first and that in the end all the maps- no matter the source, confirm John S. McCain as the next President of The United States of America. 

One University of Michigan physics professor and his team applied mathematics, geography, and visualization to show us that those blocky red states and blue states are actually a lovely, purpley, swirly, fishy looking thing. The above image comes from http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/.

This Google link page lets you see state-by-state breakdowns, with vote totals within each state, and also county-by-county breakdowns, if you click on the state, then click on “County Map” in the upper right-hand corner of the pop up window.  http://maps.google.com/help/maps/elections/#2008_election Google also has a map http://myfairelection.com/ where we can follow events at the polls as reported by citizens like you and me.  We are only a few hours into the election and already people are posting and logging in to identify problems and successes at the voting booths across America. 

Here are some great links to get you perusing all the information available with many maps and a few graphs that reflect what is being reported and how the election may be trending.
· CNN ElectionCenter Map
· Fox News Interactive Map
· ABC News Map
· Yahoo Election Dashboard
· MSN Election Map Room
· MSNBC Election Map
· NPR Election Map
· Wall Street Journal Electoral College Calculator (browser resize!)
· 270towin.com
· idashboards.com Election 2008 (results?)
· NYTimes Election 2008 (results?)
· BBC News Elections 2008 (results?)
· USA Today (results?)
· Newsweek Politics (results?)
· Time Magazine (results?)
· Google Maps 2008 Elections Gallery
· Forst and the Trees Election Center (results?)
· Color-Weighted Election 2008 Cartograms (results on 5 November).


While it is early on Election Day, all reports show a calm America as we go about our duty to vote freely without duress of martial law, riots, civil disorder, or the Enforcement of Laws to Restore Public Order.  https://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/riot-police-ready-for-civil-unrest-on-election-night/ 

It is also notable that any pending litigation from Andy Martin, Philip Berg http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-paedce/case_no-2:2008cv04083/case_id-281573/  or John Q. Citizen that demanded that the election be delayed or that Obama shows the world his authentic, vaulted birth certificate have not been successful. https://ahrcanum.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/obamas-citizenship-goes-to-supreme-court/ Both Martin and Berg have court dates after the elections regarding Obama’s citizenship and qualifications to become President under the natural born citizen clause, Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution.   The electoral college process takes place after the election and is outlined here http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html  These are the key dates:

  • November 4, 2008 – General Election: The voters in each State choose electors to serve in the Electoral College. As soon as election results are final, the States prepare seven or nine original “Certificates of Ascertainment” of the electors chosen, and send one original along with two certified copies (or three originals, if nine were prepared) to the Archivist of the United States.
  • December 15, 2008 – Meeting of Electors: The electors in each State meet to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The electors record their votes on six “Certificates of Vote,” which are paired with the six remaining original “Certificates of Ascertainment.” The electors sign, seal and certify the packages of electoral votes and immediately send them to the President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States and other designated Federal and State officials.
  • December 24, 2008 – Deadline for Receipt of Electoral Votes: The President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States, and other designated Federal and State officials must have the electoral votes in hand.
  • January 6, 2009 – Counting Electoral Votes in Congress: The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes (unless Congress passes a law to change the date).
  • God Bless America, her citizens, and especially today, The Voter.

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